Over the past forty years union membership in the private sector has fallen from a post-World War II peak of just under 40% to a current low of under 7%. In the absence of union representation, governmental statutory and regulatory workplace protections have increased dramatically, including wages and overtime, safety and health, anti-discrimination, unemployment insurance, workers' compensation, pension and retirement, drug testing and health insurance. Currently, far more students are studying Employment Law than traditional union related Labor Law.
This year's Columbia Employment Law course will begin with laws concerning job search and information that employers may or may not seek during the recruitment process. It will then proceed to the various anti-discrimination principles including race, gender, religion, age, national origin, disability and sexual orientation. It will then take up wage and overtime laws, workplace freedoms (dress, harassment, privacy, freedom of speech) and workplace safety and health. It will then cover wrongful dismissal and the exceptions to employment at will. Finally, the course will cover how the federal government uses employers to provide and administer such welfare provisions as health, unemployment and disability benefits, pensions and retirement benefits under ERISA, and similar laws.
The course will meet twice a week, in 80 minute classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays from approximately 10:40 a.m. to 12:00 noon, beginning Tuesday January 19 through Tuesday, April 26, 2016. The book is Rothstein, Liebman and Yuracko, Employment Law (Eighth Edition).